I had never heard of Bibliotherapy before until it popped up in a web search while looking for Art Therapy sites. I happened on Good Therapy.org and according to the article Bibliotherapy,
“Is a therapeutic approach that uses literature to support good mental health, is a versatile and cost-effective treatment option adapted or used to supplement other types of therapy. Proponents of the approach suggest mild to moderate symptoms of several mood related conditions can be successfully treated with reading activities.”
Bibliotherapy is used in many ways from “Prescriptive Bibliotherapy,” which can be referred to as self-help books to “Books on Prescription,” which is a reading program that is prescribed to you to help your mental health needs by your mental health provider and “Creative Bibliotherapy,” which uses imaginative literature like, novels, plays, poetry and biographies.
There are benefits from using Bibliotherapy, you can personally tailor to the specific circumstance or problem that you are trying to solve. Bibliotherapy allows you to seek treatment at your own pace; however, it should not replace your regular treatment with your Doctor. If you are seeing someone please keep seeing them and maybe talk to them about adding Bibliotherapy to your treatment. Another great thing about Bibliotherapy can be practiced in private; no one needs to know what you read, why you are reading that subject or what you hope to get out of it.
When you are reading for Bibliotherapy there is a difference then when you are just reading to read. You have to have a kind of mind set that allows you to let the author engage you in a silent conversation. But you also have to be able to understand what is being communicated to you. For instance, in Jacqueline Stanley’s book,
“The reader must struggle to understand what is being communicated at the deepest levels and, as a direct consequence of that communication responds by making a positive alteration or modification in behavior or attitude.”
After researching about Bibliotherapy, I found that I actually use it a lot all ready, but with this new found knowledge I will just read the books I choose specifically for Bibliotherapy differently. I already have been utilizing Prescriptive Bibliotherapy and will continue to do so, but I might dabble with Creative Bibliotherapy as well. I have always been an avid reader, it is one of my favorite things to do.
The first book I am going to talk about is “YOU are a BADASS” by Jen Sincero. Warning possible spoiler Alert!
I would not have even thought of picking this book up, except that; in May, I was in a weight loss challenge group and to read this book was one of the challenges and I am so glad that I picked it up. The author has a no nonsense way of talking to you and it help me to stay engaged.
You are a Badass is broken out into five parts. Each part builds on the other parts. As I journey through each part, I will let you know what I took to heart and how the book helped me.
In Jen’s first chapter she talks about how our conscious mind and subconscious mind tells us completely different things. Three things that she says is:
I can totally see how she is right. When I was a teenager, my mom told me that I was only a “B” student and that my older brother and my younger sister were “A” students. She went on to say that I should become a teacher because it basically was a “B” student career. I never went on to become a teacher, but I wish I had; not because of what my mom said, but because I love teaching.
When I think back on how I have viewed my schooling and career, subconsciously I think this comment stuck with me. I am a perfectionist, and being a perfectionist can be a good thing but it can be a really bad thing. According to Psychology Today,
“For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It’s a fast and enduring track to unhappiness, and perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn’t a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance. Perfection, of course, is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality, and often it leads to procrastination. There is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection. The need for perfection is usually transmitted in small ways from parents to children, some as silent as a raised eyebrow over a B rather than an A.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/perfectionism
Through that conversation with my mom, I was basically told you are not good enough!
So my conscious mind has moved away and is thinking life is going pretty good, I went on to get two degrees, my BS in Accounting and a MBA and all the while I am doing this, my subconscious mind is screaming out in my head “You are not good enough!” I know it was, but just didn’t realize it until I read this book. Get this, when I started taking Intermediate Accounting in college, I was really having a hard time with it and ended up getting a “C” in the class, but that was not good enough; so, I paid the tuition out of my pocket about $1,240.00 so I could get a better grade. I ended up with a “B” in the class and was still super upset.
Who does that!!! I will tell you, someone who does not think they are good enough.
In the second chapter, Jen talks about the G-word. All of this chapter talked to me and I want to point out how she approaches the issue. I loved it! When it comes to spirituality and religion, I am super open minded and I feel that we are all here on our own path and will end in the place that we need to and if we let it, the Universe, God or whoever you call it will help us along the way. Jen writes,
“Wherever you happen to stand on the God issue, let me just say that this whole improve your life thing is going to be a lot easier if you have an open mind about it. Call it whatever you want – God, Goddess, The Big Guy, The Universe, Source Energy, Higher Power, The Grand Poobah, Gut, Intuition, Spirit, The Force, The Zone, The Lord, The Vortex, The Mother Lode – it doesn’t matter.
Once I read this, I was hooked and couldn’t read the book fast enough.
In this part of the book, Jen starts to talk about how you need to love yourself. One of the things I loved about this book is that no matter what part of the book you were reading, she always ended the chapter or the process with “Love Yourself.”
I have this horrible issue with Negative Self Talk and Jen points out that we really just need to stop with that. There was a sentence that really stuck with me, she says,
“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities.”
This is so true from me, so I have been trying really hard, to start to change my words, because then everything else will follow.
I really needed part 2 of Jen’s book because, the majority if not all of the points she brings up, I was doing the opposite of what she told me. Also, if I was doing it, I was not giving myself the credit that I deserved. One of the biggest parts that was brought up was about fear. Jen talks about jumping in the deep end and following you’re your fantasies. Because I have really just been existing and not fantasizing here are a few that I have thought about learning. 1) Learn to play the guitar and starting to sign again. 2) Write a book instead of just talking about writing a book. 3) Take an art class. 4) Write the blog you have so long wanted to write.
In this part of the book, Jen talks about how to really tap into your inner-self. She talks about meditation, which I have tried in the past and loved it but in reality I just never made any time for it and have started to meditate again, but in small doses. Jen has a lot of really great tidbits of info in this part of the book. She talks about how you really need to change your thinking and beliefs if you want to change your reality. Here is a quote from the book that she found super important.
“You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.”
To is helping me change my thinking and beliefs, I started a vision board just to help me. I am consistently updating pieces to my board, but the main piece for me at least in 2017 is positivity, because I have been so negative and pessimistic in my adult life that I really need to change that belief.
Another important aspect that Jen talks about is Gratitude. I have always know gratitude is important and practiced it sometimes. But after reading this book, I practice it every day. If you follow me on Facebook you can get in on the Gratitude too with my Gratitude posts.
Here Jen talks about how we are extremely wrapped up in our stories. Here is an example she gave,
“I don’t have the money, I’m not good enough, I can’t quit my job, I’m lazy, I have bad hair.”
She goes on to say,
“…trudging through life with our heads down, clinging to our false beliefs like lifeboats full of doo-doo, that we prevent ourselves from seeing the literally infinite sea of possibilities and opportunities surrounding us at every single moment.”
What got to me in part 4 is a statement where she said,
“You’re the author of your own life – not your parents, not society, not your partner, not your friends,…”
See that one sentence hit me with a ton of bricks, because part of my negativity was because of my belief that everyone else was the author of my life and that I did not have a choice. When all along I have had the choice, I could just not see it. I have chosen my life so far, regardless of whether I like it or not.
Jen has a chapter on fear, and she tells you that fear has not happened yet so fear is really all made up. So, I asked myself, “What’s stopping you?” Here is what was stopping me, I was afraid of what everyone else would think. I was ashamed of my depression and didn’t feel I would have anything important to say or even how to say it. I took a really good look inside and just decided to jump and the product of jumping was the inspiration is what you are reading right now. This blog!
In this final part of the book, Jen talks about just making that decision, money, and surrendering. I really needed help with my decision making as I have always been indecisive when it comes to me and this is something I will have to work on for a long time. Some of the things that she pointed out were that you need to want it bad, get good at what you want by learning and eliminate the negotiation process. I have been talking about blogging for years, but I was always indecisive of what to blog about and I used that as my excuse to not blog. I really just had to eliminate the negotiation process in my own mind and just blog. The learning is coming, I have already learned a huge amount and have so much more to learn. And you know what,
The last part in Part 5 that spoke to me was her chapter on surrendering. Jen says,
“It’s about showing up every day with an excellent attitude, doing your best, leaning back, celebrating what is and steadily working with the grateful expectation and belief that The Universe is sending you a new, more lucrative opportunity.”
I will use this expression in every part of my life, at home, work, and my blog. I used to celebrate, but I just got to a point where the celebration stopped. I had to realize that working hard and steadily to your goals is not worth its weight in gold if you can’t stop to celebrate your successes.
There is so much more to her book then what I have touched on, so I hope that you will pick up a copy of the book and see for yourself. If not “You are a Badass” then pick up a different book something that peaks your interest and will help you to solve one of the problems in your life.
Happy Reading, learning, and healing!